Cristin A. Mount, MD, FCCM, is an associate professor of medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Tacoma, Washington, USA. She joined the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) in 2007 and is currently chair of the Uniformed Services Section. You can find her gardening, practicing photography, or riding her Peloton when she is not busy with critical care. Learn more about Dr. Mount’s love for critical care and her career journey.
How did you get into critical care?
As a resident, I volunteered to cover holes in the ICU schedule. I really enjoyed being in the ICU; it was interesting and challenging. When I discovered there was a pathway to train in critical care without an additional outpatient specialty, I knew I had found my clinical home. I spent a year as a general internist before starting a critical care medicine fellowship just to make sure critical care medicine was the right choice. It was!
What is your biggest professional achievement?
My biggest professional achievement is completing a career in the U.S. Army. I started at the Uniformed Services University as a second lieutenant medical student and retired 24 years later as a colonel and the critical care medicine consultant to the Army Surgeon General. The Army gave me many opportunities, some adventure here and there, and a lot to be proud of.
What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?
Dive in. Be a sponge. Learn everything you can—both what to do and what not to do. Don’t forget about your own professional development. Do your best to carve out time away from medicine. Absolutely don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s the best thing about the ICU—you’re surrounded by people willing to help. There’s never a perfect time to start a family.
Why do you love being in critical care?
I love caring for the most critically ill patients in the hospital. I love the immediate gratification of making an intervention, seeing a physiologic result, and adjusting plans from there. I really love the multidisciplinary environment, with everyone working at the top of their skill set to care for patients.
What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?
Our approach to pain and anxiolysis management has changed. The rise and refinement of early goal-directed therapy. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) certainly. And we’re just beginning to realize the potential of POCUS to improve patient care in the ICU!
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?
Critical care’s most challenging issue is the staffing shortage, which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated. At the same time, our workforce is shrinking, and the acuity of inpatients is rising. It is a complex problem that will require a multifaceted solution.
What industry trends excite you about the future?
Did I mention POCUS? I’m excited to see the handheld devices improve, with better imaging, electronic health record connectivity, and AI features. I’m also excited to see what we can do with extracorporal therapy to remove cytokines and curb pathologic inflammatory response. I’m hopeful that we find a way to predict and prevent ICU delirium.
What do you love about SCCM membership?
I love the value that SCCM brings: access to peer-reviewed critical care literature, educational content like Fundamental Critical Care Support and the ultrasound courses, and Critical Care Congress, which provides a chance to meet up with intensivist friends from around the world.
Connect with @Cristin Mount on SCCM Connect or @mount_md on X formerly known as Twitter.